Archive for Mark Ruffalo

Avengers: Infinity War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet Xandar, Thanos and his lieutenants—Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard’s destruction. As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills Loki. Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on Knowhere. Rocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create an enchanted battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the Stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill retaliates, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. After Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, Strange surrenders the Time Stone in exchange for Thanos sparing Stark. Thanos departs for Earth.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a star insignia on a red-and-blue background

REVIEW:

The moment has come! The big payoff! The reason we have sat through seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe films, though they have all been enjoyable to varying degrees. 10 years in the making, complete with developing an entire universe, setting up some high stakes, and teasing us with the big bad, Avengers: Infinity War has arrived! Will it be the payoff all of us comic nerds, as well as the general public have been expecting?

What is this about?

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

What did I like?

Spread the wealth. From the moment this film was announced, it was clear that the cast was going to be huge. What we didn’t know was how the balance of screentime would play out. Would we get a heavy dose of Iron Man and Captain America, while Hulk and Dr. Strange are relegated to what amounts to glorified cameos? I can assure you that is not the case. Every character that we have been introduced to in the MCU to this point, with the exception of Hawkeye, Ant-Man (who has his own sequel coming later this summer, which takes place before this film, apparently), and a couple of others who i can’t think of at the moment, is included in this film. While not all time on screen is equal, each character is allowed to show their strengths and why we have grown to care about them over this time.

Mad Titan. Yesterday, I saw Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2 and, while he was good as that character, he feels more at home as Thanos. That’s not to say Brolin can’t play a cyborg mutant from the future, or that he should always seek out roles where he is a delusional psychopath with delusions of grandeur who has a strange misconception of what kind of balance the universe needs. Rather, he just seemed to have more fun as Thanos. I think he even said so himself. I can’t blame him. One the one hand, he could be a really strong time traveling cyborg who has to listen to Deadpool all day or be a universal titan that is nigh unstoppable. The latter seems to be the better option. As far as his plot is concerned, i think this is one of Marvel’s stronger villains. I won’t spoil it for you, but he does lay out and execute his plans with precision, rather than dawdle and monologue the way some earlier MCU villains have done (some in his employ).

Impact. The impact of the MCU has been felt ever since the first Avengers was released and other studios started taking notice of universe building. Now, if you notice there are many duplicators and imitators. DC has come the closest to recreating the formula, but something just isn’t right with them. When all is said and done with this film, though, the way it ends is sure to make a lasting impact on fans and probably moreso on those that aren’t fans. I can’t go into much detail about it without dabbling into spoiler territory, but i can say that something happens that will send shock waves through the audience, as it is something no one saw coming.

What didn’t I like?

Short end of the stick. Earlier, i mentioned the enormous cast and how not everyone was given equal screentime. For some reason *COUGH* ego*COUGH*, Iron Man gets the majority of the screentime. Meanwhile characters such as Bucky (Winter Soldier), Black Widow, Nebula, etc. have maybe 5 min on screen. In Nebula’s defense, she was a prisoner being tortured by Thanos for most of her time. This brings me to Black Panther. He, and the nation of Wakanda, play an important role later in the film, but that is all we get. Some have speculated that since this was filmed before the release of Black Panther, the studio had no idea of the impact that film would have and thus didn’t give T’Challa much to do in this film. There is an argument to made there, but my point is many characters, both major and minor didn’t receive as much time as they could have because of the amount of characters in this film. I’m not saying there were too many, just that, and I’m going to sound like Thanos here, ironically, more balance needs to be brought.

Offspring. Unless you are a fan of the comics, then you probably have no idea who Thanos’ “children” were. Myself, not being up to date on Thanos’ history, didn’t know who they were, either. Apparently, they are, much like Nebula and Gamora, the last children from worlds Thanos has conquered and destroyed who now serve him. That little bit of history doesn’t mean much, other than explain why they are fighting so hard for this big purple guy. They view him as their father and will do anything  for him. The way they seem to be portrayed in the film is equivalent to Stormtroopers, mindless clones who only serve one purpose.

Ground support. Granted, there isn’t much they could do and i just went on about too many characters, but i can’t help but think that the Defenders (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones), the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , along with anyone else that could help out with this (Inhumans, Deathlok, etc.) The world is in danger! I find it hard to believe that these heroes/anti-heroes would just sit idly by, especially Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. (note…i have not been watching this season). Real talk…the only reason none of these guys are making an appearance is because Marvel is desperately wanting to keep the MCU away from the Netflix universe. Don’t ask me why. It makes no sense!

Spoiler alert. This isn’t a complaint against the film, but rather internet culture. As you know, i am nearly a month late getting to see this. Life/work kept me away from the theater. In this day and age, spoilers are very hard to avoid, especially when you are in a Facebook group for comic book and movie nerds. However, i believe it was the Sunday after the film’s release that i was checking out the Venom trailer and had the film spoiled for me. How was it spoiled? Well, right as the trailer is about to end, some @#%$!^ inserted a 10 second clip of himself telling the world what happened. I ask you…who does that?!?

Final thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War? Man, what a ride! The emotional roller coaster this film takes you on from the opening beat down of the Asgardians, to the triumphant return of Steve Rogers (that entrance was…wow!), all the way to the events that happen in the second half of the film are sure to keep one on the edge of their seat. There are some things that could be cut as well as some scenes that probably should not have been cut. All in all, though, i had a great time watching this and can’t wait for the next one. Do i recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Thor: Ragnarok

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Two years after the Battle of Sokovia, Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur. Surtur reveals that Thor’s father Odin is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns in Odin’s vault. Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök.

Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki posing as Odin. Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange on Earth, they locate Odin in Norway. Odin explains that he is dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was sealed in long ago. Hela had been the leader of Asgard’s armies, and had conquered the Nine Realms with Odin, but had been imprisoned and written out of history after Odin feared that she had become too ambitious. Odin subsequently dies, and Hela, released from her imprisonment, appears. She destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and when Thor and Loki attempt to flee through the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard, destroying its army and the Warriors Three; resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, including her giant wolf Fenris; and appoints the Asgardian Skurge as her executioner. She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard’s empire, but Heimdall covertly steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard’s citizens.

Thor crash-lands on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes. He is captured by a bounty hunter named Scrapper 142, and taken to serve as a gladiator for the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster, with whom Loki has already become ingratiated. Thor recognizes 142 as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female warriors who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago. Thor is forced to compete in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions, facing his old friend the Hulk. Summoning lightning, Thor almost defeats the Hulk but the Grandmaster sabotages the fight to ensure the Hulk’s victory. Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and 142 to help him save Asgard, but neither is willing. He soon manages to escape the palace and finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar. Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Natasha Romanoff makes him transform back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.

The Grandmaster orders 142 and Loki to find Thor and Hulk, but the pair come to blows and Loki forces her to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrie at the hands of Hela. Deciding to help Thor, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill. Unwilling to be left behind, Loki provides the group with the means to steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships. They then liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a rebellion. Loki attempts to betray his brother to gain a reward from the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him. Thor, Banner, and 142 escape through a wormhole to Asgard, where Hela’s forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard’s citizens. Banner becomes the Hulk again, fighting Fenris, while Thor and 142 battle Skurge and the resurrected warriors. Loki and the gladiators arrive to help, and the citizens board their large ship; a repentant Skurge sacrifices himself to allow their escape. Thor, facing Hela, loses an eye and then has a vision of Odin that helps him realize only Ragnarök can stop Hela. While Hela is distracted, Loki locates Surtur’s crown and places it in the Eternal Flame. Surtur is reborn and destroys Asgard, seemingly killing Hela.

Thor and the others escape with Asgard’s remaining citizens aboard the Grandmaster’s vessel. Thor, crowned king, decides to take his people to Earth. In a mid-credits scene, they are intercepted by a large spacecraft. In a post-credits scene, the Grandmaster encounters a group of his former subjects, who are still rebelling.

REVIEW:

It seems of all the Avengers, aside from Hawkeye, Thor is the biggest butt of all the jokes, mostly on the internet, but a few time in the movies. With his two films, the right tone for the character just could not be locked down. Perhaps Thor: Ragnarok will be the one to solve this dilemma and give us a solid film for such a major Marvel character.

What is this about?

Imprisoned, the almighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

What did I like?

Hela good.

Marvel has been churning out great films, some better than others, since the MCU started. With that said, there is a complaint that seems to be universal among fans and critics. Villains in the Marvel universe just aren’t strong, aside from Loki. Well, Hela has come in and made a name for herself. Not only did she destroy Thor’s hammer, but she took over Asgard, brought and army back from the dead, is pretty much indestructible, and we were given some development to her character. What more could you ask for in an evil, malevolent being…I’m looking at you Ronin the  Accuser (Guardians of the Galaxy)!

Dark World resolution. Thor: The Dark World was not universally loved. It seems as if Marvel wants us to forget about it with as little reference there is to it. Whether you think it was god or bad, the ending of the film needed to be resolved in some way. Loki was masquerading as Odin while the real Odin is apparently on Earth. Thor finds out about this and…well, he’s none to happy. As a matter of fact, this leads to the plot device of this film, now that I think about it. Guess it won’t be forgotten, anymore…at least the final scene.

Individuality. Heimdall has been a pretty badass character in these films…when they give him the chance to do something other than stand guard at the Bifrost. Relieved of his duties, he now saves Asgardian refugees from Hela’s wrath. We also get some interesting individual moments from Thor and Hulk, both of whom have taken a backseat to Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow in the Avengers movies.

What didn’t I like?

Surtur. Hela is the big bad of this film (no offense, Grandmaster), but there is another major foe that bookends the film, Surtur. Now, I have a couple of things to say about this guy. First, his design looks like some cheap CGI, but at least its better than Dormammu was in Doctor Strange. Second, as major a force this guy is in the comics, you’d think he would have been more important to the film, perhaps something related to Hela, not counting that “fight” they have at the end. Also, Enchantress could have been brought in and that would have made Skurge’s presence make sense.

New powers. As I mentioned earlier, and you no doubt have seen in the trailers for this film, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer. I was under the impression that Thor’s powers came from his hammer, as was he, apparently. Turns out the hammer was just a way to channel his powers, as Odin tells him. Now, without his hammer, he seems to have developed new powers. The question is, will he keep these new powers, or will they be forgotten come the next film? Also, if he had all this power, why is it just now showing? Seems to me there would have been at least a hint of it before conveniently showing right as Hulk is about to smash his head in.

Hulk. Speaking of Hulk, can we get a definitive decision on his intellect? Sometimes it seems like there is a brain up there and then there are times when he seems like a petulant child. Hulk is a gamma-fueled rage monster with immense strength. Imagine a hyperactive child with that? Oh the horror!

Final verdict on Thor: Ragnarok? Well the lighter tone makes a huge difference! The comedic back and forth between the characters makes a much more entertaining picture than watching them all brood and barely interact. Also, Jeff Goldblum’s over the top Grandmaster would only work in this type of film. The bright colors, bad ass action, and excellent story have many thinking this is one of the best Marvel films of all time. Yes, this is good, but I need to see it again before I can rank it. So, yes, I do recommend this very highly. Perhaps even check it out twice!

4 out of 5 stars

Spotlight

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Spotlight tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

What people are saying:

Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects” 4 1/2 stars

“Spotlight shows how difficult it is to challenge a hallowed institution. This requires deep though on the part of the person initiating the investigation. They have to realize that breaking the law applies equally to all citizens: bakers, bankers, bartenders, and clergy. The film shows the drama in the investigation and trying to keep it from being hijacked. A super film: highly recommend taking the time to view it. ” 5 stars

“Don’t underestimate the power of journalism! My salute to the real Spotlight team and all the people who made this film. Goosebumps all the way through. You won’t believe the events portrayed in the film actually happened in the real world.” 4 1/2 stars

“After watching this movie, I’d like to see one about what the church has done to clean up its act. I thought the line about celibacy being the cause of it laughable and incredibly naive. It was hard to get too interested in such an old story.” 3 stars

“This drama based on true events does tell a good story about how the ball got rolling in this cover-up. But as a movie, it doesn’t quite meet the mark. Some of the acting (especially from Ruffalo) is average, and there are a few filler scenes and dead spots. I was expecting more complexity and revelations as the movie unfolded. With all of the recent media reports and government inquiries into these matters, the facts didn’t produce the shock value which they would have when these stories initially broke in the media” 3 stars

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton – raid a Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments – twins Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and throw energy blasts – and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.

Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers during a victory party at their headquarters. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. He recruits the Maximoff twins, who want revenge against Stark for their parents’ deaths from his company’s weapons. Together, they visit the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue in an African shipyard to obtain vibranium. The Avengers battle them, but Wanda subdues the heroes with haunting visions, causing the Hulk to run amok and forcing Stark to use his powerful “Veronica” armor to stop him.

A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda’s hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at Barton’s safehouse farm, where they meet his wife, Laura, and children. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination. Realizing an attraction between them, Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after fighting Ultron. Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, South Korea, Ultron forces Banner’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic tissue technology, vibranium, and the scepter’s gem to create the perfect body for him. When Ultron begins uploading himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn on Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton hunt Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff.

The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. – who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet – into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body with lightning, explaining that the gem on its brow – the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones and one of the most powerful objects in existence – was part of his vision. The synthetic being, now referred to as the Vision, and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine that lifts a large part of the city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground and cause global extinction. As the city begins to lift, Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while delaying Ultron from activating his plan’s final procedure. Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to assist in evacuating civilians, but Pietro dies when he shields Barton from a barrage of fire. A grieving Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body in revenge, inadvertently allowing one of his drones to activate the machine. The landmass plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the city into pieces. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision confronts Ultron’s last remaining body.

Later, the Avengers have established a new base in upstate New York, run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig. Believing the Mind Stone is safe with the Vision, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark and Barton also retire from the team, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, Wanda, the Vision, and Sam Wilson.

In a mid-credits scene, Thanos retrieves the Infinity Gauntlet and, dissatisfied with the failures of his pawns, vows to hunt for the Infinity Stones personally

REVIEW:

The film the world has been holding its breath for since its predecessor’s credits started rolling has arrived! Avengers: Age of Ultron is sure to make a ton of bank, but how is the film, really? Is it worth watching, or are people just enamored with the grouping of all these superheroes on the screen? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is this about?

Returning to action to stem another lethal threat to planet Earth, the cadre of superheroes from the original Avengers takes on the evil and all-powerful Ultron, who’s determined to stamp out humankind.

What did I like?

Teamwork. If you will recall from The Avengers, they didn’t really become a team until the end, as that served as more of an origin story…one that had been building for years. Well, since the first film ended, they have apparently formed a more cohesive way of handling things and work as smooth as a basketball team. It is a thing of beauty to see them in action. It really is like seeing the comic brought to life.

Skynet. Ok, let’s get right down to it. What did I think of Ultron? Well, he is menacing to see and in today’s society that is almost 100% reliant on technology, he is one of the best villains around. James Spader’s voice, which I initially questioned when it was announced, actually works for him, though I believe the guy that voiced him in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes would have done a better job, at least with the soulless, menacing part. I do have some issues with Ultron, but they are more related to changes in his origin (for those not in the know…he was actually built by Ant-Man as a security robot and then went psycho) and his jovial nature. I don’t have an issue with his being more of a jolly fellow, but a slow descent into madness would have benefitted his character greatly, not to mention Spader’s voice would have helped sell it. All in all, though, I was pretty pleased with Ultron as satisfied with him as the film’s main villain.

Scarlett. There was a time when it was believed that Thor could never work properly on the big screen. We were wrong. There was a time when we though Captain America would never work on the big screen. We were wrong. There was a time when it was believed that the X-Men and/or the Avengers on the big screen would never happen. We were wrong. There was a time when it was thought that Scarlett Witch’s powers were too weird and mysterious to work on the big screen. We were wrong. I think they did an excellent job with her hex powers. Elizabeth Olson is a great actress and I am looking forward to seeing what else she does with the character going forward. One thing I do take issue with, though, is where is her horned head thing that she wears? HAHA!

Hulk and Hawkeye. Bruce Banner/The Hulk actually gets a bit more character development this go around. There are hints of a romantic relationship with Black Widow, you can see the torment that Banner deals with knowing the big guy is lurking, and even with the Hulk, you can see things going on his head. I appreciate that. With Hawkeye, in the first 5 minutes, we get more of him than we did in the entire last film. In the climactic battle, he was cracking jokes and shooting arrows. It felt like Hawkeye! No to mention they changed his costume. Now, just give him the hood/mask and we will have achieved perfection.

The return. I geeked out when the Helicarrier took off in the first film. It was comic geek’s dream to see that come to life. In this film, it came back and I was nearly in tears! Such an awesome piece of machinery, how dare they keep it “in storage”, as Nick Fury says. Hopefully we’ll get more of it and other fantastic machines soon.

What didn’t I like?

Baron von Strucker. Baron von Strucker appeared in a post credits scene at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier stating something about experimenting on humans or something, but we also got our first look at the twins (who should be mutants, but because Marvel and Fox are fighting like a couple of middle schoolers, they had to work around that). At any rate, this seems like it should have been a plot for a whole film itself or, at the very least, a few episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What we get instead is the beginning of what feels like something big, only to be ended by Ultron. I almost think that was symbolic of what the film was going to be and what it ended up being. Still, Strucker is a major villain, especially of Captain America. Didn’t he have deserved better?

Vision. Vision is one of the best characters in the Marvel Universe. He is nearly indestructible, has a vast intelligence, and is always adapting. Do I need to mention that he can phase shift at will, meaning that if you try to hit him, at just the right moment he can shift his density so that you go right through him. Sounds awesome, doesn’t he? I think we will get the full awesomeness in future films, but for now, I have to concentrate on the negative. First, the change in origin to make him and Jarvis one. I get the logic behind this, but I don’t think Paul Bettany was the right choice, after all. Maybe it is the paint, but there was just something that I can’t quite put my finger on that I don’t like. Bettany is a competent actor, and I think he was able to pull of the naïve, but highly intelligent aspects of Vision, but something just doesn’t sit right with me about this character. Maybe when I watch the film again, or when I hit publish on this post, it’ll come to me.

Tease. Anyone familiar with the Marvel Universe knows that vibranium comes strictly from Wakkanda. If you know anything about Wakkanda, then you of course know that it is a land ruled by the Black Panther, who will be making his debut in Captain America: Civil War about this time next year. So, what is my problem with all this? Well, Ultron and the Avengers go down to Wakkanda, meet this villain Ulysses Klaue, get some vibranium, fight, Hulk goes on a rampage, and leave. Black Panther is not only a superhero but also king of Wakkanda. Stolen vibranium and 8ft tall rampaging monster are sure to bring about you awareness. This would have been the perfect opportunity to sow the seeds for Panther, if nothing else than a mention, but alas, we didn’t get it.

Blockbuster. I hate to keep comparing this to its predecessor, but it has to be done. The last film was an event. It had action, story, comedy, character development…everything you can ask for in a film. This time around, everything is here, just not as well executed. The feeling I get from this is more akin to that of a Michael Bay film. Lots of action to cover up other weaknesses. This is not the kind of film that necessarily needs a deep story, but it does need something to set up the action and not just jump in. We’re getting to the point now that more is expected and I’m not sure this formula will work in round 3.

Some really good things are on the horizon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Avengers: Age of Ultron just showed us that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Bringing in new blood with the old guys as a way to keep things fresh, though I still could care less about Don Cheadle as War Machine. As far as this film goes, it is a really fun film, albeit slightly darker than its predecessor. It has its flaws, but those are outnumbered by the positives. I will be counting down the years/months/days until the next Avengers, but in the meantime the focus is on the forthcoming Ant-Man to start the next phase in the MCU. So, do I recommend this? Let me put it this way, I will be in line at the store waiting for the boxes of DVD/Blu-rays to be delivered when this is released. So, hell yeah I recommend it! Why are you even reading this, go watch it right now!!!

5 out of 5 stars

View from the Top

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , on November 5, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Donna Jensen (Gwyneth Paltrow) is a girl from a small town in Nevada who wishes to see the world in order to get away from her unhappy life of living in a trailer with her alcoholic mother, a former Las Vegas showgirl, and her abusive, alcoholic stepfather. After graduating from high school, Donna tries to make ends meet by working as a clerk in a Big Lots. After her boyfriend (Marc Blucas) leaves her for another girl, she goes to a bar where she sees a talkshow segment about Sally Weston, who has written a memoir called My Life in the Sky, and decides to follow her destiny by becoming a flight attendant. Her first position is at a small, seedy California commuter airline but this success builds her confidence up and encourages her to attend open interviews for Royalty Airlines. She convinces her two co-workers, Sherry and Christine (Kelly Preston and Christina Applegate), to join her. While Christine and Donna get in, Sherry does not. Donna puts her heart and soul into the training camp, and, after meeting her idol Sally Weston (Candice Bergen), she is determined to be assigned to the top route, “Paris, First Class, International”. Alas, when the assignments are posted, Donna is shocked to discover that she has been assigned to a commuter route in Cleveland. Christine, who had initially struggled with the material and procedures, has inexplicably been assigned the high-priority New York route.

A few months later, by chance, Donna runs into Christine in Cleveland. Donna knows from previous experience that Christine has the airplane soap from Sally’s house during their training sessions, but is still shocked when Christine empties her handbag to reveal all manner of Royalty Air items. Even the smallest theft is strictly prohibited by Royalty Airlines, and could mean termination. Still sure there was some sort of error in her route assignment, Donna turns to Sally Weston for help. Through a course of events, Donna discovers that Christine had switched their test booklets when they were being handed up to their trainer – Christine’s route assignment is rightfully Donna’s, and vice versa. When Sally asks to have airline security spy on Christine’s flight – to see if she stole any property (a code blue) – Christine gets caught and is fired from Royalty. Donna gets the chance to re-take her exam and achieves a perfect score, resulting in being assigned a Paris, First Class, International route. However, following her “destiny” means deciding between a boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo) and her career. She chooses her career.

Though she gets all that she wants – Paris, first class, etc. – Donna realizes that she is still not happy. She misses her boyfriend in Cleveland terribly, and with Sally Weston’s encouragement, she returns to Cleveland to meet him. She does, and after a heartfelt speech to his deaf grandmother, which he overhears, the two kiss and make up. The movie ends with Donna wishing her passengers well as they land in Cleveland, having become a pilot.

REVIEW:

This past week I was so busy with work and all matter of other issues, that I didn’t really get to watch and/or review any films. I think I may have snuck one in there, barely. Hopefully, I’ll be getting back to schedule soon, starting with this romantic comedy that a couple of people have asked my opinion on, View from the Top.

What is this about?

A small-town girl’s dreams of becoming a flight attendant hit some turbulence when she meets a catty colleague, a frisky pilot and a crazy instructor.

What did I like?

Fly away. The last time flight attendants received any kind of publicity, that I am aware of, is that short-lived show from last year, Pan Am. That show and this film are all flight attendants have. Compare that to the countless films we have about cancer patients, athletes, talking animals, crime, etc. and you can see the difference in the numbers. In this day and age when everything seems to be a carbon copy of everything else, new subject matter is a welcome thing.

Mentor or mom? Candice Bergen plays a great mentor to Gwyneth Paltrow’s character. This is one of the few times she plays a character that actually has warmth and a nurturing side. It is almost as if she is Paltrow’s mom. Perhaps, given the crappy home life outlined at the beginning of the film, she was meant to be a maternal figure that Paltrow looked up to because of her book.

No girl power. I don’t want this point to come off sounding like I’m some sort of misogynist, but I am so over the moon with glee that this didn’t try to speak to the female audience exclusively. Girl power and feminism is fine and all, but I’ve had just about enough of it in every film. Being able to watch a film not be beaten over the head with an agenda was something that I may possibly have enjoyed more than the rest of the film.

What didn’t I like?

Party on Wayne. The talent that Mike Myers has is a topic that many argue about. Some say he’s a genius, others say he’s just annoying. I’m not here to debate one way or the other, but rather to mention how he is basically useless. Well, let me take that back. His character has purpose in the film’s plot as the flight attendant trainer, but the eye thing got old quick and didn’t fit with the tone of this film. Then again, I’m not sure the film knows what tone it wanted to take, either.

Hulk needs love, too.  Shouldn’t romantic comedies have romance? It seems as if this is something the filmmakers forgot to  include in the script because there is little to no romance between Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo’s characters. Most of the film is spent doing everything but have these two interact. On the plus side, all those tropes commonly associated with rom-coms aren’t present, thankfully.

Bodies on the floor. I can see why John Travolta married Kelly Preston. She is quite the vision of loveliness, but for some reason her breasts were nearly scraping the floor in this film. I bring this up because it was distracting and since she wasn’t in the film for that long a period of time, it was almost as if there was some sort of comedic reasoning behind this. If that was the case, fine, but if not, then I have to say WTF?!?

Talk about a film that has no direction. View from the Top is a mishmash of drama and comedy that never quite finds the right formula. There is unlimited potential here with a great cast, decent story, and some nice moments. For me, this was just a time killer film. There was nothing particularly special about it. So, no, I do not recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

13 Going on 30

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

As the story opens, Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen) is an unpopular girl celebrating her 13th birthday on May 26, 1987. She wishes to overcome her unpopularity at school since she views herself as gawky and uncool. Jenna especially wants to join the “Six Chicks”, a school clique led by Lucy “Tom-Tom” Wyman (Alexandra Kyle), who takes advantage of Jenna’s desire to fit in by manipulating her into doing a school assignment. Before her birthday party, Jenna’s best friend Matty Flamhaff (Sean Marquette) gives her a doll dream house that he built for her, and a packet of “magic wishing dust”, which he sprinkles on the roof of the house.

Tom-Tom and the rest of the six chicks show up to Jenna’s house party where they play a cruel practical joke on her during a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven”. Jenna, mistakenly thinking Matt was responsible, yells at him and barricades herself in the closet where she put the Dream House. She cries and rocks backs and forth, bumping into the wall, wishing to be “30, flirty, and thriving”. The wishing dust from the dollhouse sprinkles on her, causing her to fall asleep. The next morning, Jenna awakens as a 30-year-old woman (Jennifer Garner) living in a Fifth Avenue apartment. It is now 2004, and Jenna has no memory of the 17 years that have passed since her 13th birthday.

30-year old Jenna’s best friend, Lucy (Judy Greer), drives her to her work office. Soon, Jenna discovers she works for Poise, her favorite fashion magazine from when she was a teenager. Missing her best friend from 1987, Jenna asks her assistant to track down Matt. To her dismay, Jenna learns she and “Matty” have been estranged since high school when Jenna fell in with the in-crowd and became best friends with Tom-Tom, who now goes by her real name Lucy. Matt (Mark Ruffalo) is now a struggling photographer who’s engaged.

After Jenna overhears Lucy badmouthing her to a co-worker, she sadly realizes that what she thought she wanted wasn’t important after all. This is complicated by the fact that Jenna has become a shadow of her former self. She has lost almost all contact with her parents, and is having an affair with the husband of a colleague. Not only is she generally hated by her co-workers and anyone else she has worked with, she is suspected of giving her magazine’s ideas to a rival publication, Sparkle. Jenna slowly realizes that the person she has become is neither trustworthy nor likable, and unknowingly begins to reverse the situation by distancing herself from her new, shallow boyfriend. From this point on, all of Jenna’s work to rebuild her life as a 30-year-old woman has gone to waste.

Jenna heads back to her hometown in New Jersey and, while her parents are out, hides in the same closet as 17 years before and cries. Her parents return and find her hiding, and they welcome her in for the night. The next day, she reminisces by looking through school yearbooks and other items from her school days and catch-up on the 17 years she doesn’t remember. These inspire her on her return to Manhattan. Over several outings and working together on a magazine project, Jenna becomes friends with Matt again, asking his help for her project. Although Matt is engaged and Jenna has a boyfriend, they kiss during a nighttime walk.

After arranging a magazine photo shoot with Matt, then making a successful presentation for a planned revamp for Poise, Jenna prepares for the revamp when she gets bad news from the publisher: Poise is shutting down because the work she put into the relaunch ended up in Sparkle. Jenna learns she was responsible for sabotaging Poise from within by sending their material to Sparkle for months. When Lucy learns this, she cons Matt into signing over the photo rights from the relaunch shoot to her. She accepts the position of Sparkle editor-in-chief, telling Jenna she wants to be both the pot and the kettle in their relationship.

When an already-distraught Jenna discovers Matt is getting married later that day, she rushes to his house and begs him to call off the wedding. Dazed, Matt realizes he loves Jenna, but cannot change the past. From his closet, he pulls the “dream house” he made 17 years before and gives it back to her. Jenna leaves in tears, crying over the dream house.

Unknown to Jenna, specks of wishing dust remain on the dream house, and she wishes she was 13 again. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself back in the closet of the basement at her parents’ house, 13 years old again. When Matt comes to check on her, she jumps on top of him and kisses him. She also tells Tom-Tom she can be the pot and kettle all by herself, then rips apart the school project. Seventeen years later, Jenna and Matt are married and live in a house which resembles the dollhouse.

REVIEW:

Today, I’m in the mood for something light. Perhaps something that will take me back to my younger days. How about an age-switching film starring a hot chick. I know! How about 13 Going on 30?

What is this about?

It’s 1987, and geeky Jenna wants to be popular. When her 13th birthday party goes awry, and she makes a wish that she could just be 30 already, she wakes up to discover she’s flash-forwarded 17 years. Now a successful magazine editor, Jenna finds out that being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What did I like?

Age before beauty. Jennifer Garner has always been on my radar as someone who has managed to not seem like an old soul. As a matter of fact, there have been times when she has come off as a big kid. There are also times when she can be deadly serious. The casting director obviously took note of her childish side and cast her as a 13 yr old who wishes to be “30, flirty, and fun”.

Doppelganger. In Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Garner’s younger self was played by Christa B. Allen, who also lays the younger version of Garner in this film. The two of them look so much alike, one could easily believe they are sisters. As a matter of fact, I just looked up some current pictures and she looks even more like her now.

Debut. Jennifer Garner’s character encounters a young girl in the elevator and strikes up a friendship. We get a couple of scenes with them, including a slumber party where she uses Pat Benatar lyrics to motivate the girls. What is notable about this is that the little girl is played by Renee Olstead who is currently starring on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars and more importantly, a jazz singer…and a damn good one! Go youtube her and be blown away!

What didn’t I like?

Mood swing. At the pivotal 13th birthday party for young Jenna, she suddenly starts treating her best friend like crap, just because the cool girl clic, the “Six Chicks” were in attendance. When they trick her into going into the closet and expecting the hot guy at school, she is enraged to find out they left and that her friend, who grows up to be Mark Ruffalo (long before he becomes the Hulk). For some reason, she freaks out on him, throws the dollhouse he spent 3 weeks making for her at him, and says she never wants to see him again. We learn that she really never did speak to him again and went on to become a bitch.

Dance. At the magazine party, no one seems to be having any fun. This is why Andy Serkis’ character (yes, the guy does appear as himself in this film, and not motion capture) asks her to save it. So, she asks the DJ to play ‘Thriller”. I don’t know what kind of dances and whatnot you may have been to, but when that or some other really popular and danceable song comes on, you almost immediately start dancing. These people just stood there. Had it not been for Garner’s quick thinking to bring in Mark Ruffalo’s character, which started the snowball effect and people finally started having fun, I don’t believe they would have done anything but stand there wanting to get out there and dance, but instead just standing there.

Girly. I think it is safe to say that this is a “chick flick”. The way the focus is so much on the girls and the problems they have is more than obvious, but what leads me to categorize it that way is the way Ruffalo’s character is treated. In the time that isn’t covered in the film, I’m sure Garner’s character teased, flirted, and turned him down every which way she could, totally forgetting the friendship they once had. This is the kind of stuff that is always played up in romantic comedies, albeit with gender roles reversed. With all the imaginative things that happen in this film, you’d think they could have done something more interesting with those two.

I can’t help but think of Big while watching 13 Going on 30. The films may be totally different, but they are similar at the same time. I think I have to categorize this as a guilty pleasure film for me. By all accounts, I shouldn’t like it as much as I do, but I always come back for more. My personal affinity for it aside, I have to say that it is worth a high recommendation. So, unless you have something against magical wishing dust, then give it a go, why don’t you?

4 out of 5 stars

Now You See Me

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Four street magicians — J. Daniel Atlas, Henley Reeves, Jack Wilder, and Merritt McKinney—are brought together by an unknown benefactor and, one year later, perform in Las Vegas as “The Four Horsemen”, sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. For the finale, a member of the audience is invited to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. That member in an audience is Étienne Forcier, the account holder at the Crédit Républicain de Paris. Forcier is apparently teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an air-duct that vacuums up the money and showers it onto the crowd in Las Vegas.

Upon discovering that the money really is missing from the bank vault, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with Interpol agent Alma Dray. They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation can be found. Dylan meets Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks. Thaddeus was in the audience and deduced that the Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience’s perception of current events.

Dylan, Dray, and Thaddeus attend the Four Horsemen’s next performance in New Orleans. The group’s finale involves them stealing roughly $140 million from Tressler’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, composed of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s company. Dylan attempts to arrest the Four Horsemen, but they escape with help from hypnotised audience members. An infuriated Tressler hires Thaddeus to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance. Later, while researching the Four Horsemen’s background, Dray learns about rumors of a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, who steal from the rich and powerful to give to the needy, and suggests to a skeptical Dylan the case might be tied to a magician named Lionel Shrike, whom Thaddeus had exposed 30 years earlier and who was so embarrassed that he undertook a dangerous underwater stunt and drowned.

The Four Horsemen are located in New York, but they escape during the raid to arrest them. However, Jack is killed when he crashes a stolen car and it bursts into flames and explodes. The remaining Horsemen vow to continue and complete their final performance, stealing a safe made by the same company that made the safe Lionel Shrike died in. Then they perform their one last show at 5 Pointz during which they seemingly vanish into thin air, transforming into loads of money that is showered on the crowd. The money turns out to be a fake and the real money is found stashed in Thaddeus’s Range Rover. Thaddeus is then assumed to be the fifth Horseman and arrested, although he said that he was framed.

Dylan visits Thaddeus in his cell, where Thaddeus explains that the only way the safe could have been removed was if Jack was still alive, but they would have also needed an inside man. Thaddeus realizes that Dylan is the fifth Horseman (when he disappears from the locked cell, reappearing on the outside). Dylan tells Thaddeus he wants him to spend the rest of his life in jail and leaves as Thaddeus asks why he did it.

The Horsemen are now rejoined by Jack, whose death was staged. They finally meet their benefactor and are surprised to find it is Dylan. He welcomes them into “The Eye.”

Later, on the Pont des Arts in France, Dray is met by Dylan (as he reveals himself to be the son of Lionel Shrike, the magician who drowned years ago). He masterminded and designed the Horsemen plot to obtain revenge on those involved: Thaddeus, for humiliating his father; the Crédit Républicain de Paris and Tressler’s company, who refused to pay the insurance on his father’s death; and the company that produced the substandard safe used in the trick that led to its failure. Dray, however, decides not to turn him in. When Dray sees the lock with a key that Dylan magically handed out in front of her eyes, he proclaimed, “One more secret to lock away”. As soon as Dray locks the lock on a chain fence with all of the locks that have been locked, she throws the key into the Seine.

In a post-credit scene in the extended cut, The Horsemen are seen arriving at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. They find crates marked with the sign of the “Eye”. The movie ends with them looking for the four key cards to open the crates that hold their new equipment.

REVIEW:

You may recall about 5 yrs or so ago that magicians were all over the place, most specifically “illusionists” such as David Blaine and Chris Angel. Well, apparently Hollywood wants them to come back because Now You See Me and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone have been released this year with the subject matter of magic and/or magicians. Let’s hope this doesn’t start a revival in that so-called magic, although I wouldn’t mind those David Copperfield specials that used to come on ever year back in the day.

What is this about?

Brainy magicians Atlas and Henley lead a troupe of illusionists who specialize in robbing from the rich, in the form of banks, and giving to the poor, their audiences, all while trying to outwit a team of FBI agents determined to bring them down.

What did I like?

Just like magic. Perhaps the biggest illusion this film pulls off is that it is a crime thriller, and a fairly competent one at that. From what I recall from the trailers, it wasn’t advertised as anything more than a film about magicians. Perhaps that is why, initially this film didn’t do as well, because who wants to see a film about magicians, especially after Burt Wonderstone earlier this year? Covering up what this film is really about, though, was quite the impressive feat.

Twist. I’ve been reading people’s complaints about this film and it seems that the major issue is with the ending. Personally, I like the twist, especially since it wasn’t what you would have excepted. I was thinking it was going to go another direction, but I was completely wrong. Sorry for the vagueness, I’m trying not to spoil anything. If you’re into endings that come out of nowhere and surprise you, be on the lookout for this one.

Heist. You have to give these guys credit, they literally got on the stage and said they were going to rob this bank or that one. The fact that no one believed them was only the fault of the authorities. It takes some real cojones to do that, don’t you think? Of course, you also have to be able to pull it off and not leave a trace of evidence that you were there, as well.

What didn’t I like?

Atlas. So, another film starring the untalented and overhyped Jesse Eisenberg. I swear, the only thing I’ve liked this guy in has been Cursed, everything else he has ruined!!! How the hell does this guy keep getting work?!! Just because you have the make up artists slap some peach fuzz on your face and make an attempt to not make your voice so annoying isn’t going to make you a competent actor. Someone should inform him of this fact!

Weight. If you don’t know who Isla Fisher is, take a moment and look her up in Google images. Now that you’re done drooling…Can you believe they used her as the butt of weight jokes in this film? What was the point of that, I wonder? Here you have the super hot Isla Fisher and you reduce her to fat jokes. The only thing worse would have been to make her a shrill shrew of a character, which at times, it did seem like they wanted to go that route, but fought it. Very disappointed that they had to make those jokes.

Franco. No, not James, but his little brother, Dave, was impressive…in the short time he’s on the screen. I loved his one on one showdown with the cops, but it would have been nice to have more of him. Just because he was the youngest doesn’t mean he had to get such little screentime, while we get bogged down with Eisenberg’s whiny narration. Ugh!

There is no reason that Now You See Me should have been this good. It has already been greenlit for a sequel. I don’t know if it was that good, but it was entertaining. There are flaws to be sure, but if you really sit there and nitpick each and every one of them, then you’ll never have fun watching a film ever again. For that reason, I give this a fairly high recommendation. Check it out!

4 out of 5 stars